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Ed Krol

Last Edit: 18/02/19

Ed Krol is an American computer scientist (born 21/08/51) that studied and spent his whole career at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. One of the most notable contributions Krol made to computer networking, was managing the development and implementation of NSFNET in the 1980s. NSFNET was a computer network that connected scientific research establishments in North America: it used TCP/IP (like the Internet does), and was a major 'steeping stone' in the evolution of the Internet: becoming the 'Internet backbone' by the mid to late 1980s. Krol would go on to write the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Internet in 1987, and The Whole Internet book series. Ed Krol's books played a role in expanding knowledge of the Internet to the general public. Ed Krol was inducted as an 'innovator' into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2017.

Ed Krol at the Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2017
(Pictured: Ed Krol at the Internet Hall of Fame induction ceremony in 2017)

In relation to NSFNET: Ed Krol was a network manager at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) in the early 1980s, which was located at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. The National Science Foundation (NSF) hired Dennis Jennings to build NSFNET, and it was decided it would built around five supercomputer centers: one of which was the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Therefore, Ed Krol -- alongside Charley Kline ,Dave Mills, Scott Brim, and Dennis Jennings -- made decisions, such as, which network router, telephone lines, and hardware, NSFNET would use. The meetings that Krol would arrange to discuss and decide on issues relating to NSFNET would later evolve to become the Federation of American Research Networks (FARNET); FARNET would include members representing: MOREnet, Merit Network, MCI, MRNET, NevadaNet, Bellcore, CICNet, and Advanced Network and Services.

When inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2017, Ed Krol had this to say about the future of the Internet: "My big fears, is the whole... politicisation of the Internet, and I should say, one of the things that staggered me in my early Internet career was, the intransigence of the telecoms companies, and the telecoms companies didn't understand what we were doing, they didn't want to deal with us, they were too busy selling voice lines, and didn't even realise we were a market. And, I guess, in my early years, I was worried about big business standing in the way of it, and now with the Net Neutrality stuff, its the same thing all over, and we need to protect the ability of .... innovators to build applications and use an Internet in a way they see fit, and not be constrained by some business interest that are competing".